Friday, May 18, 2018

Challenges to New York and New Jersey's Segregated Schools

Despite the rise of white nationalism - (See Adam Serwer's The Nationalist's Delusion) There is a countervailing trend in New York - which according to a UCLA Civil Rights Project   report, “New York State’s Extreme School Segregation: Inequality, Inaction and a Damaged Future”  have made New York Schools the Most Segregated in the Nation.

And in New Jersey a complaint was filed yesterday by a coalition determined to remedy New Jersey's similarly segregated public and charter schools, as reported in today's New York Times:
The school segregation in New Jersey is de facto segregation, not explicit segregation by law, as was the case in the American South before the Brown decision. It stems from a complicated mixture of discriminatory zoning practices in suburbs, poverty and personal choice, the plaintiffs claim. But it is institutionalized by a state law in New Jersey that requires children to attend schools in the municipalities where they live, said Elise Boddie, a law professor at Rutgers University and a founding member of the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools,a nonprofit that organized the lawsuit.
Because neighborhoods and towns in New Jersey are so segregated, that law results in segregated schools. So the suit asks the state to let children cross municipal lines to go to school. It also calls on the state education commissioner to develop a comprehensive, detailed plan suggesting ways to integrate schools.
New Jersey is rare among the states: Its courts have declared even de facto school segregation unconstitutional since the 1960s. Such segregation has persisted, and worsened, however, because “no one has done anything about it,” said Gary Stein, a former New Jersey Supreme Court justice on the court that ordered equal funding for the state's districts.
“Here in New Jersey, we have segregation that’s more intense than any state today in the South,” he said. “What we have got in New Jersey, frankly, is an embarrassment. We have segregation at a level that is just intolerable for a state like ours, and we have never addressed it.”
The lawsuit suggests several remedies, including the creation of magnet schools that draw from multiple towns and districts and tax incentives for municipalities to create more diverse schools. It points to an effort in Hartford, stemming from a 1996 desegregation lawsuit, that created clusters of magnet schools so attractive that suburban children are bused into inner-city Hartford to attend them.
Children who attend integrated schools do better than those who remain in segregated schools, research shows.

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